Magic Leap’s Latest Demo is Like Tripping Balls

Wired just published a giant feature on Magic Leap, the lavishly-funded, and very secretive mixed reality startup that we know almost nothing about. Professional thoughtfluencer Kevin Kelly got impressive access to the startup and reveals some new details about what the hell they’re doing. There’s a headset! And it is capable of what you see in the video above, which is like tripping, if LSD made you hallucinate your calendar.

The demo, which Magic Leap just posted to YouTube, is a look at what your morning might be like if you’re living in the company’s mixed reality future. It’s not a very lofty future, but I daresay it’s a useful one. Though I’ve never had a morning in which I intensely study topographical maps of Everest or ethereal jellyfish, it is nice to have a clean heads-up display in front of your face, full of notifications and information. The graphics are very high fidelity—especially compared to Magic Leap’s mixed reality cousin, Microsoft HoloLens.


But even though Wired got great access, we still don’t really know what Magic Leap’s headset is going to look like. Here’s the bit we do learn from Kelly’s time with Magic Leap’s mysterious faceputer:

The user sees the outside world through the glass, while the virtual elements are projected from a light source at the edge of the glass and then reflected into the user’s eyes by the beam-splitting nano-ridges. Magic Leap claims that its device is unique in the way it beams light into the eye, though the company declines to explain it further at this time.

My that’s incredibly vague, but it’s something.

Kelly also mentions that because Magic Leap’s tech is mixed reality, and not virtual reality, taking off Magic Leap is as easy as “taking off sunglasses.” But before you get excited about the idea of a compact MR unit you can slip into your breast pocket, Kelly assures that MR headsets, just like VR, are far from being culturally invisible.



The Noble Renard

That “climbing Mt. Everest” presentation is the height of why I don’t believe any of these products; because doing something like that would require dozens of hours of work in a software platform that currently doesn’t exist, and we’re supposed to believe that the user’s small child is able to do it as easy as Powerpoint today.

I mean, it features custom animations, 3D mapping, audio cues, etc...

In essence, you’re trying to sell me on a hardware product by showing me software that doesn’t exist and likely isn’t going to exist.

/or, for instance, the example later in the video where the user is shopping for shoes and can view a 3D model of the shoe. Which, of course, requires that you only shop at online outlets that have 3D scanned and uploaded their products, which leaves it up to third-parties to do a ton of work for a gadget.

//and of course the “this was shot through the product and we didn’t use CGI on the video you’re seeing” disclaimer, which means that they just played a video that had been made in CGI, and record that. Like if I watch Inside Out on my TV and film it with my iPhone I can say “no special effects were used in the creation of this video.” In other words, marketing claptrap.